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Monday, September 19, 2011

The Traveler

So, the good news is, this DVD, The Traveler, seems to work well. The bad news? It's a Val Kilmer film. Geez, what happened to this guy? How did he go from Top Gunto MacGruber? Well, keep your expectations low, and remember: SPOILERS will be in abundance from this point onward.

The movie begins with a girl using a jumprope, as her cat looks on. For some unfathomable reason, the girl decided to name her cat "Shining". How much you wanna bet her dog is Cujo, her canary is Creepshow, and her goldfish is 'salem's Lot?Anyway, the girl is grabbed by someone in a long black coat, then the opening credits start rolling. She calls out for her father several times, including a few times when her mouth was covered or closed. Neat trick.

After this, we see a handful of police vehicles driving around in a heavy downpour. A desk cop named Gulloy is apparently doing arts and crafts(no joke), when 2 other cops walk in, looking like drowned rats. Gulloy chastises one of them, Hawkins, for making a mess all over the floor. The 2 continue lobbing insults at each other, until the 3rd officer, whose name hasn't been said yet, orders them both to shut up.

Next up, we see a female officer, Janey, about to kiss her partner, when Hawkins and his partner walk in. As they all exchange some friendly banter, we meet ANOTHER cop, Detective Alex Black. He was apparently the father of the young girl who was abducted during the credits. He's listening to a voicemail message from his wife, who wants him to know that she's taking the kids out of town for awhile. Hey can I cheat off of someone's test to get all the names right?

Alex picks up a photo of his daughter, and starts reliving the day that she was taken. I hate these scenes in movies, mostly because they never make sense. I mean, he wasn't there when she was taken, so why do his flashbacks recycle stuff from the opening scene? Is it really that difficult to film a few extra scenes with the family in happier times or something?

Anyway, that scene goes nowhere, so now we're looking at a generic motel. It even says, simply, MOTEL. Pure genius. Oh, and nothing happened at the MOTEL, so now we're back at the police station.

Val Kilmer walks in from the rain, and he looks like a cross between Fabio and Stifler's Mom. It ain't pretty. Anyone besides me remember the last time they saw a Val Kilmer film in a movie theatre, instead of a DVD store? (In my case, it was MacGruberas I think I mentioned above, but anyone could have played that role, so it doesn't really count.)

Gulloy looks up from his desk, and Kilmer's character, Mr. Nobody, confesses to murder. He starts acting weird, so Gulloy draws his gun and yells for assistance, and Hawkins joins him to see what has him so worked up. Alex leaves his office to chat with the other cops, and a third cop leaves to find Gulloy. Then Alex does the same.

When he hears Gulloy explaining that Mr. Nobody confessed to murder, Alex tries to question the suspect, but Mr. Nobody seems to act catatonic. When Alex asks him to put his hands on his head and the suspect refuses, Alex orders the others to bring him to an interrogation room.

While Alex is demanding to know why Gulloy drew his firearm, yet another person walks into the precinct....2, actually, and they're state troopers. They announce that the rain is forcing them to close the nearest roads, then leave. So,yeah. That happened. *yawn*

In the interrogation room, 2 cops are asking Mr. Nobody for specific details about his confession, and Mr. Nobody tells one cop that his eyes are "full of fear", whatever that means. He also promises to reveal his murders before the night ends. Fed up with the cryptic nature of the suspect, they decide to simply check his fingerprints with the online database. Before being taken to a cell, Mr. Nobody tells Alex something about a pen his dead child had given him, then tells him that as many as 6 people are dead.

In the next scene, Janey and her fellow cop/boyfriend are making out under the mistletoe. As things get pretty hot and heavy, Janey sees Mr. Nobody watching them from the doorway, and she lets out a small shriek.When they both look, Mr. Nobody is no longer there. Janey still feels nervous, so she leaves.

The cop taking Mr. Nobody's mugshots, Jack, also feels on edge in his presence. The feeling increases when he sees the suspect covered in blood through the camera lens. The blood vanishes as he looks again, and the other cop tries to fingerprint him. That would be fine, if not for the fact that Mr. Nobody has smooth skin where his fingerprints should be.

Now that both cops are scared, they order Gulloy to deliver Mr. Nobody to his holding cell.On the way to the cell, Mr. Nobody comments on the fact that all of the lightbulbs at the front desk blew out, as the ones in the holding area are flickering. When Gulloy locks him in, Nobody suggests that the lights could be a warning, but he won't be more specific than that.

As Gulloy starts to leave, the lights flicker again, and he hears a cell door click open. He slowly approaches the cell, only to find Mr. Nobody sitting right where he had been left, whistling away. Gulloy run away like a little girl.

Alex is told about the fingerprints, and the 3 cops toss around a few ideas. It can't be acid or burning, because the prints would come back when the skin healed over. Alex promises to get more answers after a second round of questioning, but he looks pretty doubtful.

The cop who took Mr. Nobody's pictures tells Janey and her lover about the fingerprint mystery, then leaves to enter the mugshots into the records. As he's about to start, though, he sees that every photo shows only the clothing and the ID plate...Mr. Nobody doesn't have a face, or even a head, in any of the pictures. Then he hears the whistling too.

When he speaks to Nobody, he just gets more of the riddles and cryptic nonsense. Then Nobody reveals that his weird whistle is from Macbeth. The cop walks away when Nobody resumes whistling his little song.

Alex calls his wife, and the chat is anything but friendly. He eventually asks to speak with the kids, and has yet another "I-remember-like-it-was-yesterday-even-though-I-wasn't-there" flashback about his daughter. This is the Groundhog Day of horror films, given how many scenes they insist on repeating.

Alex asks the cops to bring Nobody back to the interrogation room, and Gulloy reveals that the scissors on his desk have gone missing. Foreshadowing much? The cops find Nobody in the wrong cell, along with a stolen deck of cards that one of the cops was using earlier, and they drag him upstairs.

Outside in the rasin, Hawkins has a flashback to a different interrogation, the night Alex lost his daughter. He and the other cops more or less tortured a guy for information, even though he insisted that he was innocent. They even threatened to cut off his tongue, but it's not clear how far they went.

Janey is partnered up with a cop named Sherwood, given that Hawkins is still on a smoke break. Hawkins reveals to Pine(I think...I eventually gave up trying to remember who was who, and looked up the cast list online) that Nobody strongly resembles the guy they tortured when Alex lost his daughter. He even points out that only the officers who were involved in the beating are working that very night. Creepy.

Back in interrogation, Nobody acts like he's in a trance. He talks about a red dress, blue hair, and long legs. As he describes a murder, Hawkins decides to examine the holding area by himself. He shines a flashlight into every cell, until one behind him opens, and he is dragged inside. The lights in the cell go out, and the cop is tied up and beaten to death, exactly as Val describes it. But before he dies, his tongue is removed. It's revealed that the woman Nobody described is a tattoo on Hawkins.

After the body is discovered, Alex tells one of the officers in the interrogation room to handcuff Nobody. As the 3 officers leave him in there and lock the door, Alex tells the other two that Hawkins was murdered. Gulloy and another cop go outside to check for any obvious signs of an assailant, and Gulloy is almost immediately struck by something falling from the roof. As the other cop helps him to his feet, they realize that the object is Shining, the cat that was with Mary Black the day she disappeared.

As Alex is giving everyone police rifles, Gulloy and the other cop report what happened. No one believes their story, until they show Alex the cat's nametag. Pine then tells them about the conversation he had with Hawkins right before he was killed.

Another flashback shows that Alex ordered the drifter that they tortured to be strung up by the other cops. They beath him with batons, belts, their fists...then they placed a plastic bag over his head and hit him several times in the face. Alex had the others leave the room, then he showed the drifter the pen his daughter gave him. He used the pen to stab the stranger, and the flashback ends there.

Gulloy becomes an info-dump, telling us that Mary was found dead, and the killer was also found holding Mary's locket, and killed during the apprehension. The drifter they tortured was an innocent stranger. Oh, and he's still alive, in a coma. Hmmmm....

Mister Nobody hears the conversation. Then the lights flicker out again. They check on Nobody, and he's sitting right where they left him. He describes how he killed his second victim, just as Gulloy is being killed out on the roof. Gulloy is being suffocated from behind, and a noose is placed around his neck while he struggles. The killer then throws Gulloy off the roof, and his corpse is seen dangling right outside the interrogation room window.

They decide to move Nobody again, and he tells them that he likes the Bible, especially, the Old Testament, because God was wrathful. Nobody believes in vengeance. Nice.

After leaving Nobody in his NEW new cell, the remaining cops debate what's happening. On one hand, some think that Mr. Nobody is working with the drifter, who may have come out of his coma. On the other hand, Mr. Nobody might have an accomplice unrelated to what happened to the detective's daughter a year ago.

Frustrated by the mystery, Pine decides to call the hospital and see if the drifter is still in a coma. Duh! That should've been the first idea. They discover that not only did the drifter die that evening, but he died exactly at the time that Nobody walked into the station. As they try to formulate a plan, Nobody can hear them.

Janey and Sherwood are driving to where the road was closed, hoping to get some sort of back-up from the Feds. As they drive up to the barricade, the remaining cops at the station decide to keep an eye on Nobody. He freaks them out by throwing his voice, which confuses and disorients them.

When they finally locate Nobody, he asks them questions about the drifter. Then he tells them that he wants to make another confession, this time about murdering a couple. Pine rushes upstairs to try to warn the pair on their radio.

He manages to contact Janey, just as Nobody starts to set the murders in motion. Sherwood, meanwhile, finds another broadast coming from a different car, in which someone describes finding Alex's daughter dead. Sherwood freaks out and begins waving his gun in every direction.

At the breaking point, Alex walks up to the prisoner and fires several rounds at him. Then Sherwood is attacked from behind, and Mr. Nobody pops up in his cell, still very much alive. Janey tries to help Sherwood, but has trouble finding him in the forest.

He's busy, as the killer is beating and stabbing him with a shovel. There's even a helpful flashback, showing Sherwood hitting the drifter with a shovel as the others looked on. After a minute or so of searching, Janey finds him with his innards shoveled onto the ground. She screams and runs back in the direction she came from.

Janey gets back in her car and speeds down the road, only stopping when she plows into a parked car next to the police station. She tells Alex and Pine(?) that Sherwood is dead, and Alex tells her to get back in her car, so they can move it away from the crash site.

The motor won't turn over, so Janey pops the hood for them. As their view of her is obstructed, Janey is attacked from the back seat. The killer covers her face in clear plastic and suffocates Janey, as Nobody describes the scene while alone in his cell. The flashback reveals that Janey was ordered to do something similar to the drifter.

They try smashing and shooting the window, but nothing works. To add insult to injury, the killer then decapitates Janey, and dumps her head outside of the car. Pine runs back to the precinct, intent on killing Nobody. The lights are out again, so Pine mounts a flashlight on top of his rifle, and starts blasting ammo into the holding cell. Alex stops at the weapon cabinet, and picks up a rifle for himself. These guys are big on rifles, huh?

Pine enters the cell, to ensure that he didn't miss Nobody. He uses the flashlight, and sees the deck of cards he had earlier, arranged in a "dead man's hand". As Pine realizes that he's the dead man, Nobody leaps at him from behind. As he beats and kicks Pine, another flashback shows--yup, you guessed it--Pine doing the same thing to the drifter.

Then Nobody makes the same threat about taking Pine's eye that Pine made to the unlucky drifter. He plucks it out of Pine's skull, then sees Alex approaching him. The detective examines his friend's corpse, and sees several teeth were also removed. Blood is everywhere, and Alex goes bananas.

Alex stumbles outside, convinced that Nobody is on his trail. He staggers into a bar, only to find himself back at the precinct. Mister Nobody appears out of thin air, and Alex tries to confess his part in attacking the drifter, but Nobody doesn't want to hear it.

No, instead, he drops a bombshell: he wasn't innocent. He did indeed take the daughter, after chasing her through the woods. When Alex mentions that the state troopers shot the killer, Nobody admits that he threw away the locket, and the man who was killed must have found it.

So, when Alex asks him why he killed the cops, it all came down to vengeance. While he was in a coma, Nobody dreamt of nothing else but getting revenge. As he starts to tell Alex how he's going to die,the detective reaches into his suit for the engraved pen. Alex apologizes, then shoves the pen deep into his own ears.

While Nobody continues to talk about killing the cops who hurt him, Alex crawls into another room and hides beneath a desk. Next to him under the desk is his dead daughter. She apologizes for not coming sooner, then tells him that he can defeat Nobody, just by saying his name. As Nobody arrives at his office and starts searching for Alex, the daughter tells him the name.

In the most misguided attempt to create a badass moment ever, Alex leaps to his feet, grabs yet another rifle, and says, "Stanley Harpenden!", I guess?

Stan makes a face like he has gas, then Alex shoots him, and Stan goes flying out the window.In the morning, Alex has one more conversation with his daughter. She thanks him for defeating Stanley, then goes to Heaven or whatever. THE END

Yeesh. An obese ghost goes on a murder spree, just because the cops had him pegged as the killer that he was? As revenge plots go, that one was pretty slim. Plus, how would the detective explain that everyone EXCEPT him was murdered by a ghost? None of this thing made any sense. 1 killer tree out of 5, mostly as a pity vote for Val Kilmer's career.

And what did The Traveler teach me this week?

-That Val should have retired after The Doors.

-That ghosts operate on the same level as Rumplestiltskin. Say their name, and game over, man.

-Oh, and I l.earned what the love-child of Kathy Bates and Chazz Bono would look like. Eeeeewwwwww.

My next movie is called Slaughterhouse. It's about a pig farm, so there's a decent chance that Val Kilmer will be in it. Later, dudes!